A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Cory Branan

Photo by Marco Krenn

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Cory Branan recently released his fourth album, No-Hit Wonder; the title track is below. The song, like the record, feels – lived-in, I guess – familiar and a little rough around the edges. It’s also sharply observed; the lyrics have bite in unexpected ways. Other highlights include All The Rivers in Colorado (my personal favorite); … Continue reading

Mumblr, Full of Snakes

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Mumblr, of Philadelphia, have recently released their first full-length effort. It is called Full of Snakes. The accuracy of that title will depend entirely on your personal feelings about snakes. (I have a certain wary appreciation, providing no venemous fangs are in evidence.) I have a good deal warmer feelings about the record; it’s brash and messy and weird and contains a love letter to Philadelphia which gets stuck in my head every time I listen to it: But there are also tunes like Sober, which is distorted, fuzzy, primal shriek of anxiety: And Greyhound Station which seething, roaring meditation on the strange combination of sweaty exhaustion, low-level terror, and rage that eventually settles on anyone required to spend any time in the titular location: It can be a challenging listen, at times, but it is absolutely worth it. In conclusion: here is the video for I Think About You All The Time – also their first video ever – which contains a dude in green paint for no apparent reason and some nudity towards the end. Adjust your viewing plans accordingly. You can listen to the rest of the record here on Soundcloud, at least for now. Alternatively you … Continue reading

Blackwater Jukebox, Blackwater Jukebox

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Dearest readers, Blackwater Jukebox (Geordie McElroy and a legion of talented friends) has put out a new, self-titled record, and it is packed full of foot stomping, hip-shaking, grab-your-partner-and-swing-em-around tunes. Some are remixed versions of material from Sleaze of the Reaper and Banjos and Breakbeats; others are new. But they are all great, and worth your time. To whet your appetite, here is Cleo May, a new tune which I like a lot: Blackwater Jukebox by Blackwater Jukebox And also the video for Eastside Girl, featuring Sadie D’Marquez and, you guys, I love it so much I wish I could teleport myself inside it, so I could dance along with the crowd.

White Sea, In Cold Blood

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White Sea is the solo project of Morgan Kibby (M83). In Cold Blood is her most recent release. It’s lush, in the sense that it is expansive and textured and the kind of thing you can easily sink into. It is operatic, in the sense that it grabs the heart, it stirs things buried deep, and then it soars. The first time I listened to it was also the third, fourth and fifth times I listened to it because I kept scrolling back and plunging back in. It’s also solid; there isn’t a single song I’d brush off as filler. I’m especially fond of They Don’t Know (the hook; if you aren’t snagged, move on); Warsaw (about being someone who should come with a warning label and knows it); Small December (because goodbye doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore, and you can tear things down, but the outline will always remain); and NYC Loves You (because it’s true, the city will always take you back). If that stream disappears, you can also hear some excerpts at her Soundcloud page.

Alex Greenwald, Yo

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INTERNETS. NESSIE HAS SURFACED. Alex Greenwald has put his solo record out – it is called Yo – and mysteriously not said anything about it. In the event this is because he’s conducting some sort of marketing experiment, I offer my data-point, which is that it took the Tumblr-tide three weeks to bring the news to my door. Anyway, I have now listened to it four times in a row, and my reaction is: Mmm. Hmm. Interesting. It’s pop music with some echo and wubble-bubble, and for all one of the songs is a love song about a knife, there’s none of the fuzzy rage and jagged aggression that showed up in Phantom Planet’s sound. Lest that make it sound like a weightless, disposable confection, know also that lyrics have razor-sharp edges, sometimes in unexpected places. It is very much the kind of thing that becomes richer with repeated listening. Simulacre and Still Too Soon: The first two tracks are, in order, a 13 second sample of something I didn’t recognize and a song about how all the sunshine in Los Angeles can really mess with your head. This was something I wondered about when I visited, actually, if all … Continue reading